Eastern Angles lands capital grant to boost audience experience

Eastern Angles director Ivan Cutting at The Hush House on the former RAF Bentwaters airbase.

Eastern Angles director Ivan Cutting at The Hush House on the former RAF Bentwaters airbase. The new Arts Council grant will help improve audience facilities for site-specific performances.

Rural touring theatre company Eastern Angles have landed a £100,000 grant from the Arts Council to boost its digital engagement with audiences and to help them transform heritage sites into performance spaces.

Company founder and artistic director Ivan Cutting said that they were delighted with the award which would help them reach new audiences and improve the quality of their surroundings when performing in non-theatrical sites.

He said: “We’re delighted to get a grant from the Arts Council’s small scale capital programme. £100,000 is a very useful sum of money which we will be using to improve the audience experience when we perform off-site in-places like The Hush House or at Parham Airfield – in non-theatre heritage spaces – it will allow us to improve what we call the wrap around experience, which is things like offering better food and drink facilities, staging related exhibitions, organising talks or employing re-enactors on-site. It’s all about giving audiences added value.

“Next year we are staging a new play The Eighth In The East, which is all about the American Air Force arriving in East Anglia and we hope to be staging at least some of the performances on old airfields, so this money will come in very handy and will allow us to boost our educational offering as well as making the performance spaces more attractive.”

He added that a portion of the money will also be used to improve the website and allow for additional video content including video-blogs and added educational content.

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“Finally we are using some of the money to update our lighting and help make our performances more environmentally friendly. We shall be investing in some new LED lights which are lighter, offer more flexibility in terms of what they can do and are considerably more energy efficient. I think we have 12 lights which date all the way back to 1982 when we founded the company so they are prime candidates for being replaced.”

Ivan said that they are currently fund-raising to contribute an additional £40,000 towards the cost of the project. The cost of upgrading the hearing loop at the Sir John Mills theatre was met by Christmas show audiences who donated £9,000 to the project over the Christmas period.

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Hedley Swain, area director for the south east, Arts Council England, said: “We are pleased to be able to support Eastern Angles as it seeks to develop its digital reach, improve access to its facilities and reduce the environmental impact of its rural touring kit. Eastern Angles play an important role in taking arts to parts of the Eastern region not otherwise well served.”

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